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Children with Special Educational Needs

Volume 627: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2017

The petition of Alan and Karen Entwistle,

Declares that the petitioners are the parents of a son who is visually impaired and has learning difficulties because of prematurity and has been diagnosed as autistic by Great Ormond Street hospital; further declares that the petitioners have had difficulties getting the local education authority (Lancashire) to work with them and recognise that they as parents have a uniquely good understanding of the needs of their son; declares that the continual legal disputes with the local authority have now cost the family over 80,000 and depleted all their savings; further declares that the local authority decided to prosecute the family (on the anniversary of their eldest son’s death) for not sending their son to a school that they believed would be harmful to him; further declares that they were unable to fund legal advice to defend themselves, but did manage to get pro bono support as a consequence of this were found that they had no case to answer.

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons Education Select Committee investigate the use of legislation relating to absence from school by local authorities to punish parents who disagree with the local authority as to what is best for their children and to propose changes in legislation so that local authorities are required to work with parents rather than simply use the criminal law to impose their will on families.

And the petitioner remains, etc.—[Presented by Julie Cooper.]